"Register your organisation and yourselves to get the benefit of the I-STEM portal"
Indian Science, Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM) is a dynamic and interactive national portal, which hosts various scientific programs, initiated by office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India. The main objective of having this portal (developed using public fund) is to provide support to needy researchers in different ways and strengthen the R&D ecosystem to fulfil the necessity of people of the country. The supports planned through these programs through this unique portal are designed in such a way that every researcher inculcate the concept of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat in their mind, nature, and behaviour and work with full dedication to optimize the usage of the resources established across the country, using taxpayer’s money i.e. public fund. With these concepts, the portal was launched and dedicated to the nation by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, on Jan 03, 2020. It has now entered in Phase-II, w.e.f. Aug 2021.
The various verticals in this program are:
Links Indian funding agencies, which provide (i) Funding and administrative support to academic institutions and national labs in establishing the R&D infrastructure or procuring equipment for various research domains, (ii) To monitor the usage statistics, its health(up/down/or under repair) and also
(iii) Help in allocating budget to new projects required the similar nature of equipment in the same region (if reported by the custodians, as highly used equipment for academic and industries research purpose) if any. This support the optimal usage of R&D budget for procuring the hi-end equipment, specially the imported one in nature. The data may be directly useful to the Government in formulating the S&T policies/deciding the ranking of the institutions to support the academic organizations in better ways to run the R&D infrastructure 24x7.This support the initiative of GoI “Digital India”.
Provide technical supports to all the academic institutions, national labs and strategic sectors organization to list their R&D infrastructure to the I-STEM portal, as mandated by the various ministries, including the Ministries of Finance, Govt. of India and help them in sharing these equipment available time (apart from PI usage) with internal (within department and Institution) and external users (academic institutions, national labs, start-ups, MSMEs and industries) in transparent ways through the I-STEM portal with its in-built features of online booking and executions of needed slots, payment gateways and auto billing/invoicing of the usage charges as well as providing host institutions the real statistics of the usage as well as unavailability of the equipment/machineries due to the breakdown. The usage data may be directly useful to the host institution to demand the new equipment/funding for its operation and maintenance as well as budget for skilled manpower to run the R&D infrastructure 24x7, if needed, beyond the project duration. The better operation and maintenance also extend the life of the hi-end equipment and generate fund partially for instantiations expenses. This will strengthen the concept “Optimal Usage of R&D Resources”.
Support the researchers of Tier 2&3 academic institutions in conducting their research by providing technical and partial financial assistance (as per the terms and conditions given by the I-STEM) as well as linking them with required resources across the country. This is in line with the I-STEM theme “Linking Researchers and Resources”.
The user of I-STEM has all the Rights to demand the equipment time (if shown available in the booking calendar) in any organizations/institutions. In case, they feel issues in getting the equipment in their region, they may try in other zones/regions too. They also may use opportunities to create grievances through the portal, if necessary. This will set the accountability in the established scientific system. This will strengthen the idea of “Equal Opportunities to All”.
Support the academic institutions by providing technical assistance (as per the terms and conditions given by the I-STEM) in running their R&D equipment and connecting them with the researchers/start-ups/industries/suppliers/service providers through the I-STEM portal. This will minimize the downtime of the precious equipment/tools.
Support the academic institutions in creating skills development modules needed to maintain and also operate the Hi-end and medium range of equipment. This will fulfil the need of skilled manpower/tool engineers required in various scientific laboratories of the country. This is in line with Skill Development and SWAYAM initiatives of the GoI.
Establishing a digital catalogue of the technologies and technology products developed in various academic institutions, national labs and PSEs organizations with the different readiness levels, such as “Prototype”, “Field Test”, “Ready to Commercialize” as well as “Already commercialized” (technology transfer executed with the interested companies). In addition, I-STEM will conduct survey/review of these technologies/technology products listed at the web-portal to take it to the next levels for translating the ideas into innovation and then products. I-STEM also help connecting those institutions needed further support for commercialization.
Support in development of the Indigenous R&D equipment, technical supplies and run the program “Waste to Wealth” (create wealth and knowledge using written-off equipment in various institutions) at State and District Head Qtr levels. In addition, I-STEM has planned to support Industries and Start-up in promoting indigenously manufactured/developed equipment/devices and get it reviewed its performance/results obtained to standardize the same with available imported equipment in various labs. This will strengthen the initiative “Local to Vocal”
The library of scientific standards established by the I-STEM will also support the start-ups, industries as well as academic researchers for standardizing the results or to realize the errors in results/measurements. It will help to do further corrections in patterns of experiments as well as technical parameters.
Making a chain of support from institutions, such as, Polytechnic, ITI, etc. imparting knowledge in technical fields to the institutions (Undergraduate/Graduate/Post Graduate courses in UGC and AICTE affiliated institutions) conducting education and learning in Science, Engineering and Technology as well as to those who are conducting R&D (National labs/Premier Institutions such as IITs, IISERS/Medical Institutions and NITs, etc.) for the country and postulating their services towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. The idea will take towards establishing the better collaboration among the institutions.
Linking the academic institutions with the established S&T Clusters (City Knowledge and Innovation Clusters) an initiative of Office of the PSA, Govt. of India in various cities.
Maintain the I-STEM portal and cloud servers to run the applications hosted at the National Informatics Centre, Delhi.
I-STEM helps the academic researchers by providing the platform with available software, such as, “COMSOL” to do the class kit learning, use for theoretical modeling etc. Many more will be added to the I-STEM portal in future, if service providers agree for it.
It also maintains the panel of experts of different domain to help the needy researchers to get the support in their research in confidential manners.
The portal also lists the vacancies if provided by the academic institutions and the available skilled manpower so that needy institution may fill those vacancies easily and the skilled manpower may get the right job opportunities.
It also allows the academic institutions to advertise their webinars/conferences/meeting/experiments through this portal and also may use the online meeting platform such as “WebEx” to conduct these meetings in organized manners.
The I-STEM Web Portal: a National Portal that is the gateway for researchers to locate the specific facility(ies) they need for their R&D work and identify the one that is either located closest to them or available the soonest.
To protect the IP involved in building the I-STEM Portal, a provisional patent application entitled, "A method and process for efficient use of geographically dispersed resources", has been filed with the Indian Patent Office.
Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India on setting up of Portal Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM)
With the number of institutions of higher education in the country growing rapidly, there has been a concomitant increase in the numbers of academics and other professionals engaged in research and development. They need adequate and upto-date facilities - or access to such facilities - to engage in meaningful R&D efforts. Though various agencies of the Government fund the acquisition of equipment and establishment of laboratories, it is the efficient utilization of such facilities that enables high productivity in R&D. Towards this goal, I-STEM is a novel, thoughtful, and greatly empowering concept, as it aims to provide all aspiring and qualified researchers access to public-funded facilities in the country in a transparent and convenient manner through a WebPortal. In addition to hosting a database of facilities in all parts of the country, the Portal is expected to become the gateway through which reservations to use equipment can be made in a manner convenient to the user and the custodian of a given facility. ln addition, it will become possible for users to consult experts in various fields to be empanelled. I hope and expect that the I-STEM project and Portal will enable researchers everywhere in the country to explore their unique ideas, secure in the assurance that they can gain access to the required facilities through I-STEM. I expect that this unique initiative will spread the spirit of collaboration and cooperation among the R&D community in the country, taking us further along the road to innovation, prosperity, and wellbeing.
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been an agency of long standing in funding R&D and innovation, primarily in academic and research institutions across the country. In addition to providing grants to investigators for meritorious proposals, DST has been a major source of funding building of R&D infrastructure in the country’s academia via a number of schemes: FIST (Funds for Infrastructure in Science and Technology), PURSE (Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence), SAIF (Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facilities), and the newest SAIF-like program, SATHI (Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institute), and through thousands of research projects and a plethora of Centres of Excellence. Through several “rounds” of FIST and PURSE, projects and Centres, substantial R&D infrastructure has been established in a large number of institutions in the country. However, such facilities are not easily and universally accessible to researchers in institutions with less R&D focus and to industry (including MSMEs) and start-ups. The various SAIFs across the country are meant to provide access to analytical facilities to all – from the academia, as well as industry. Indeed, over the years, tens of thousands of researchers from institutions big and small, and from industry, have benefited from the SAIFs.However, with a rapid expansion of our S&T ecosystem and increasing emphasis on R&D programs, there is still an unmet need for ever more S&T infrastructure, including a variety of specialized instruments, from analytical testing to fabrication to research resources. Hence, it is highly desirable and hugely beneficial if the existing infrastructure, in its period of latency, is shared with transparency and ease of access. Equipment, even when not used extensively, becomes obsolete. They also often require resources for maintenance and manpower. Sharing of our resources addresses these twin problems while making our investments more effective. Active and regular sharing of S&T facilities also activates the latent scientific manpower which resides in the remote regions, and in the smaller and less endowed institutions. The I-STEM web portal (Indian Science, Technology, and Engineering facilities Map) addresses this vital need directly, by enabling a transparent and convenient way to list and share public-funded R&D facilities with researchers who need to use them, from anywhere across the country. This portal is a live inventory of sharable resources, which should aid in the planning of our current research projects, as well as provide an evidenced-based roadmap for the future expansion of public-funded facilities. I-STEM portal allows for online scheduling of time to use a facility, and for secure online payments that help partially defray the cost. Just as importantly, the I-STEM program has the potential to promote cooperation and collaboration among researchers, leading to outcomes beneficial to the growth of science, technology, and innovation. I therefore urge all institutions and researchers to abide by the Government’s mandate to list R&D facilities in their labs, groups, and centres on the I-STEM portal, and to share them for the benefit of all the stakeholders of S&T in the nation. It’s indeed both our individual and collective Scientific Social Responsibility to do so!
It has been felt for some time that facilities in our academic institutions and national labs, acquired or established through government funding, should be made available to a wider community through a web portal. We have experience in this context with large facilities like the Synchrotron radiation sources, Indus-1 and Indus-2 at RRCAT and the nanoelectronics centres in IISc Bangalore and IIT Bombay. The CeNSE Bangalore also has experience in creating a regional portal for advanced facilities and is best equipped to establish the Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM), which will provide details of equipment/facilities, which could be used by students, researchers and other legitimate users through an on-line reservation system. This web-based portal will need to be constantly updated. I am sure that I-STEM will be a great success and will be widely used.
It seems only appropriate that CeNSE, which emerged from an earlier initiative of the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, is now being accorded the privilege of being the host to the I-STEM Web Portal. Our Centre was conceived and established as a national resource, and its facilities have been formally open for use by academic researchers from around the country through the Indian Nanoelectronics Users Program (INUP), supported strongly by MeitY, Govt. of India. In its tenth year now, INUP has been a great success. Under INUP, hundreds of researchers have received hands-on training in CeNSE facilities, in which they have carried out sophisticated research projects that have resulted in PhD theses, publications in international journals and conferences, and numerous patent filings. Through I-STEM, the INUP is now being infused into publicly-funded facilities everywhere in the country. We are confident that the sharing of facilities and the spirit of collaboration underlying I-STEM will enhance R&D productivity in the country.
Statistic of Researchers, Equipment’s, Institutions Etc.
Status of my Facility Booking Record
The statement from the distiguished scientists on setting up of the national portal I-STEM
It has always been the basic tenet of the Government of India, in generously funding R&D efforts at academic institutions over the years, that facilities established through such support be made available to those needing them and qualified to make use of them for their own research work.